Find the most important etiquette rules on how to serve and eat Ricotta and tips to be the ideal host or the perfect guest at the dining table.

how to serve and eat ricotta

What Ricotta etiquette is

Ricotta etiquette is the set of rules to properly serve and eat Ricotta. Such rules help avoid behaviors that can disrespect hosts or guests, or make you look unpolite.

If you are hosting, follow Ricotta etiquette to serve it to your guests appropriately.

If you are a guest, respect the etiquette rules to properly eat and enjoy it.

What you should know about Ricotta

Ricotta is an Italian fresh cheese. It is made from milk whey. Ricotta can be from a cow, water buffalo, sheep, or goat milk whey.

Usually, Ricotta is soft and creamy in texture. White in color. Slightly sweet in taste. However, there are many varieties of Ricotta. Some of them can be salty, firmer, aged, or with a more complex aroma. 

Etiquette tips to serve and eat Ricotta

1) How to store Ricotta

Ricotta is a fresh cheese. Thus, it is best to eat it within a couple of days of the purchase.

Store Ricotta in the fridge. It can last for up to 1 or 2 weeks. After opening it, place it in a sealed container. Or in its original packaging, ideally with its whey. Do not wrap it in plastic or aluminum foil.

In the freezer, Ricotta can last for up to 3 months. However, freezing affects the taste and texture of the cheese. Thus, freeze Ricotta only if you plan to cook it. 

Store dishes with cooked Ricotta in the fridge. They can last for up to 3 days. 

2) How to clean Ricotta

You do not need to wash Ricotta.

The whey from Ricotta is edible. You do not need to wash it away.

If you notice a foul smell or mold on its surface, Ricotta has gone bad. You should discard it immediately.

3) How to cook Ricotta

Ricotta is a common ingredient for cooking. It is a light, fresh cheese that enhances the flavor and texture of many dishes. 

Ricotta does not melt.

You can bake it as an ingredient for quiche, savory pies, flans, or lasagna. Or add it to pasta or pizza

It is a popular ingredient for desserts. Cassata and Cannoli in Sicilian cuisine. Cheesecake. Pastiera in Neapolitan cuisine. 

Due to its texture, Ricotta is uncommon in salads and sandwiches.

4) How to serve & present Ricotta

Ricotta is best served as an appetizer or a side dish. It is uncommon to serve it after the meal and before the dessert, like other cheeses. It is uncommon on cheese platters too.

However, it is common to serve Ricotta as a dessert, usually mixed with sweet ingredients, such as chocolate and sugar. 

You can serve Ricotta whole. Present it on its own plate, with a serving spoon. 

Accompany it with bread, Grissini, or Focaccia. You can season it with olive oil, salt, cracked black pepper, basil, or oregano.

Serve Ricotta at room temperature. Take it out of the fridge about 30 minutes before serving. 

5) Food and wine to pair Ricotta with

Ricotta has a delicate, fresh taste and pairs well with many foods.

It is great with vegetables, raw or cooked. Tomatoes. Zucchini. Aubergines. Spinach. Similarly, it pairs well with most fruits and nuts. Strawberries. Oranges. Pears. Walnuts. Almonds.

You can combine it with eggs, or match it with Italian cured meat. Such as Prosciutto Crudo or Bresaola. It is uncommon with meat. Avoid pairing it with fish or seafood.

Ricotta goes well with honey, chocolate, or jams. 

The delicate taste of Ricotta pairs best with crisp white wines. Such as Riesling or White Bordeaux. Alternatively, pair it with Rosé wine or a light red wine.

6) How to eat Ricotta

Eat Ricotta with a fork. It is so soft that you do not need a knife. Do not use a spoon to eat it, unless Ricotta is served as a dessert.  

Do not eat it with your fingers.

Ricotta etiquette: the worst mistakes

Avoid the worst Ricotta etiquette mistakes. 

  • 9/10. Serving spoiled Ricotta.
  • 7/10. Eating it with your fingers.
  • 4/10. Pairing Ricotta with too-strong flavors.

Additional information for properly serving Ricotta

How many calories per serving?

Counting calories is important to stay healthy and to correctly plan a menu.

Ricotta contains 174 calories per 100 grams. An average single serving is about 50 grams and contains 87 calories.

How to buy the best Ricotta

A crucial factor in Ricotta etiquette is to serve the best product possible to your guests.

Season and availability 

Ricotta is available all year round. 

Choose the best

To buy the best Ricotta, check its texture. Good Ricotta is fresh but not wet. Firm but not hard. Grainy but not lumpy.

It should be white in color and have a delicate smell.

Alternatives to Ricotta

Common alternative products are Mascarpone, cottage cheese, or Indian Paneer.